Tanja’s response to the Challenge




A Sleepless Night.




It was a dark and stormy night. Buck Cannon and his nephew Blue were heading back for the High Chaparral, after having picked up supplies in Tucson.


They were late, very late. They should have been back at the ranch now, but Buck had been distracted by a game of poker, as usual.


Blue squinted into the darkness, he thought he saw the shape of a wagon on the trail.

“We’d better check it out, Uncle Buck”.


Not knowing what to expect Buck carefully approached. The barrel of a gun was pointed at them from the partially closed hood


“You’d better not come any closer,” a woman’s voice said.


“We mean no harm, just came over to see if we can help” Buck assured.


The flap was drawn and a young woman appeared: “Yes, you sure can, if you can repair a wagon wheel, that is.”


Blue was staring at the woman, even in the dark of the night he could see she was real pretty.


“Is your husband around ma’am? Kinda dangerous being out here alone.”


“She’s not alone,” a second woman came out of the wagon, “and we’ve been doing fine until now.”



The two men discussed what they should do. They decided that one of them would go   back to Tucson to have the wheel repaired and the other would wait there.


“I think I should stay, Uncle Buck, I can protect them if necessary”.


“Sure you can, boy, but who’ll protect them from you?” Buck smiled.


The young man was grateful for the darkness and so that the ladies wouldn’t be able to see his flushed face.




After his uncle had left, Blue settled back against a tree. As he was keeping watch, he listened to the laughter of the two ladies who had sought shelter from the rain in the wagon. They were much more talkative now then they had been before. The only information they had been able to get out of them was that they were heading for Tucson and their names. Mary and Sarah, he tried their names, pretty names for pretty gals. Especially the younger one, Mary, she could be no more than twenty.

He reckoned they would probably have family in town and was puzzled by the fact that anybody would allow two women to travel alone in these parts.


The rain was dripping down his neck, he adjusted his poncho, not that he thought it would do much good in this kind of weather. It seemed like it was going to be a long night.


At the first hint of dawn, when Buck returned, Blue was drenched to the skin and his uncle wasn’t looking any better.


Mary and Sarah were watching as the two men were struggling to fix the wagon.

“We’d better give it a try first, Blue. We don’t want these ladies to get stuck again.”



The young man climbed on the wagon and took the reins. A sudden flash of lightning made the horse bolt and the wagon moved forward suddenly, causing a trunk to fall off the back. Blue was able to calm the horses and returned to see the damage. Clothes were scattered everywhere, Buck was holding up a silk, purple glove, scratching his head in wonder. He picked up a dress, the attire he was looking at were fit for…dancing-hall girls(?)


“It seems like you’ve discovered our secret,” Mary smiled.


Blue was stunned, he couldn’t believe a sweet gal like Mary could be … He walked up to her.


“Why don’t you come with us to the ranch? I’m sure you can find somethin’ better to do than what you are doin’ now. You can start anew, we’ll help you”.


She looked at him smiling, “That’s mighty sweet of you Blue, but I swore I would never let a man run my life again. That’s why Sarah and I bought the saloon in Tucson.” 


Blue shifted uncomfortably, he looked directly into her innocent blue eyes, “You’re the new owners?” he stammered.


“Yeah, my pa never did much good in his life, but when he died he at least he had the decency of leaving me enough money to do this.”


The wagon with the two ‘ladies’ rolled out of sight.


“Disappointed, boy?”


“I kinda would’ve liked to get to know her better, Uncle Buck”


“Well”, Buck grinned, “you can do some gettin’ to know her better next Saturday if you want to”


“Yeah, me and the rest of Tucson”, Blue sighed, “I think I’ll pass.”


“We’d better head home, Blue, and think of somethin’ to tell your pa, ‘cause we can’t show up with a story like this”.